Friday, January 15, 2010

REVIEW: Mark Radcliffe - The Sea Before Us

For all you music lovers out there looking for a musician with catchy hooks, professional instrumentation, unforgettable lyrics and a voice to top it all off, look no further. Former English teacher Mark Radcliffe’s latest album The Sea Before Us is all this and more.

The Sea Before Us starts out with In the Sun. From this track on, the listener is bombarded with the highest level of poetry topping off an overall addictive tune.

The Other Side of the Pillow evokes a darker mood from Radcliffe. The lyrics in this song are reminiscent of a young Elton John while the music has more of a Chris Isaak feel.

Tumbleweed starts out with an awesome piano intro and morphs into another of Radcliffe’s epic choruses. The dynamics in this song are evident throughout the album and definitely a songwriting skill Mark possesses and worth mentioning.

A personal favorite, Blow it all Away is probably the most catchy song on the album. This song hints at flavors of Duncan Shiek and The Fray. Blow it All Away is just an awesome song and perfect for mainstream radio play. This is really the kind of tune you walk around singing all day long.

Miss Hard to Forget is probably one of the weaker tracks on the album, but still a jam-up song. That says a lot about Mark Radcliffe as a musician and songwriter - even the weakest track is still awesome!

Santa Monica Daze makes clever use of mandolin for a little island pop feel. The poetry in these lyrics fits perfectly with the style of the music. This is a song that demonstrates how Radcliffe understands how less can be way more.

One Foot Out the Door is full of imagery and emotion. This track once again demonstrates both Radcliffe’s vocal range and dynamics as the song builds up and then comes back down to the finale.

Falling Star is more of a ballad type song. Most songs on this album aren’t really upbeat, but Mark has a knack for emitting tons of energy without playing energetic songs - surely something to be experienced first hand.

Breaking Up the Band has a classic rock feel and uses acoustic guitar and piano to round off the sound of this laid-back epiphany.

Pick Up a Mirror is probably the most ambient track on The Sea Before Us. This is one of those songs that shows the diversity and well-roundedness of Mark Radcliffe’s songwriting.

No Time to Lose, the ending track on The Sea Before Us, is an acoustic track that fits perfectly to the finale of this collection. As a peaceful, thought-provoking send off, this track is the icing on the cake for an awesome work of art.

Overall, The Sea Before Us is an album of which everyone should own a copy. This masterpiece proves not only that Mark Radcliffe is a master of his craft, but also leaves no question that he has a reserved spot as a prominent musical icon of the twenty-first century.

5 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Mark Radcliffe at

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